Read our latest interview to find out how moving lessons online has helped one gymnastics club make valuable changes to the future.
We recently caught up with Geoff from Good Life Gymnastics based in Esher. With over 700 children regularly attending their gymnastics lessons, the recent pandemic has meant Good Life Gymnastics have had to think outside the box when it comes to how they deliver lessons. From adding value to adapting their strategy to endless opportunities for the future, read our latest interview with Geoff to find out how he successfully moved his lessons into the virtual world and how this now shapes his plans for the clubs future.
There’s been a complete switch in strategy for us. Before with our marketing and sales efforts, we didn't even focus on the online world because we're local and it wasn't needed. But now the only thing that we can make progress on is our online numbers so we’ve had to adapt quickly."- Geoff, Good Life Gymnastics.
Great to be chatting with you, Geoff! How has the last couple of weeks been for you at Good Life Gymnastics?
'To be honest, it was a more worrying time before we closed because we had the anticipation of waiting to close and not really sure what decisions to make. I think we, as a club, we're a little bit more proactive because we decided to close before the schools did. We thought there was no point in putting our staff and members at risk, so we closed the doors and we took a day or so to get over the panic and then thought, “what can we do next? What can we do in this time?” Before figuring everything out, we just wanted to work out how we could add value and what we could bring because we understood that there would be so many parents and kids trapped at home doing nothing.'
What was your gut reaction when making the decision to close your business? Was it to immediately put everything online or was it to speak to your parents?
'I was planning ahead in my mind to jump into online stuff but kind of with the mindset that I probably wouldn’t because I don't know how to do it - I've never done it before and it's quite a nerve wracking thing. But as soon as it happened, something took off and I went into overdrive and just thought "let’s get this done and let's get this done as quick as we can". I set a deadline. I contacted all of our parents and I said our first video was going to be the next day at 6pm. Still at that stage I had nothing recorded and I had no idea how to edit. But I knew if I set a deadline, we'd get it done.'
That’s amazing. You weren't into trying to postpone classes or offer gift cards, you thought I'm going to keep classes going and put the pressure on myself to deliver something?
'We told parents, instead of offering refunds or gift cards, we were going to offer a 50% reduction on all subscriptions just to support us through this time and that we’ll give additional sessions when we get back. But our main aim was figuring out how we can deliver some online value to them. The first week was about figuring out how to do videos, get them out as quickly as possible…now we're trying to figure out how to give them more value. Value that is specific to each of them by trying more and more things for them to access at home so it can be some kind of replacement for this time we're closed.'
What was the initial reaction from parents and what's the support been like since you did announce online classes?
'For me, when I had to make the decision to close the business temporarily, I had this emotional overwhelming feeling of worry and sadness just in that instant, but the support that came in from parents was unbelievable. Some of the emails supporting us, some of the comments we've had on our social media platforms - it's just been so positive. And people have been asking for it to keep coming because they're saying they're getting real value from it and it's really working for their kids. That alone is helpful and motivating for us to keep going. We're seeing parents loving it, sending pictures of their kids doing it and it's just motivating us to keep giving more.'
Fantastic. What platform have you chosen to offer the online classes?
'We started with YouTube just to get videos out there - not only to our members but to anyone else that might need it because we understand there's a lot of people at home at the moment. Now we've got a handle on YouTube, my aim now is to take it in steps and not do too much in one go. I get that parents are super busy at the moment trying to figure out the whole realm of homeschooling, so they don't have a huge amount of time to read emails and follow instructions so we’ll keep running with YouTube and try to do that once a week.'
Will you branch out into anything else?
'What we're going to try to move to eventually is a private facebook group specifically for our age categories and invite the parents. These will be live interactive classes for all the children to join, and we’ll try our best to interact with them as we’re doing the session and keep to a set time every week. This is to try build a little bit of normality into this busy schedule now that parents have... We've aimed not to do it during the school day like it's a PE session, more like ‘get back to normality, this is an after school activity’ and parents can relax a little bit and kids can have some fun. They know it's at the same time every week, they get excited for it and then they can get on with everything else that they're doing.'
Sounds like a good idea and that takes you up to the next few weeks or months. How about beyond this, Geoff? Do you feel technology will play a part in your business?
'Well, I think because I've invested a lot more time in how to do it and how it works, I can see the possibility of online becoming a bigger part of our business. I know how to create the content and how some of the metrics work, so we can see as a business how things will grow. So if this can become part of our business - either for online classes or for a bigger online branding opportunity - and can continue to get our name bigger through the online world, I'm definitely ready to explore that.'
What does the future look like for you?
'It's always been a thing for me to have more low-end costs for our classes and I'd like to have more of a range because I've always really valued gymnastics. As a sport for me and as a kid, it had incredible benefits and I understand throughout the world there's all kinds of people with different affordability. We have a certain amount of people that are comfortable with the budget we set in our classes but there's always going to be people that can't afford or can't get access to it, so if our online classes can do a similar kind of thing for them, it's definitely something we'll look to continue and just see how we get on!'
Having read through our interview with Geoff, you may already have great ideas on how to progress your club. Here are 3 takeaway points for you to consider:
- Innovative attitude. We were blown away by Geoff's positivity and the innovative ways he has implemented change. The use of subscriptions is a fantastic way to overcome conversations around refunds. Start thinking of ways to implement alternative processes to benefit you and your customers.
- Forward thinking. This isn’t always an easy step to take when you're battling a crisis but it is a very important one. It’s important to remain positive and think about how the additional avenues you are exploring could become part of your day to day activities and support your club’s long-term growth.
- Adding value. You’ll have gathered from the interview that Geoff considers adding value is key for his customers. By coming up with additional resources and content for your customers, it shows your commitment and appreciation for them by going beyond the ordinary. Start looking at how your club currently adds value for customers and how you can adapt this throughout this period and beyond.